Can you imagine? The uncle and the niece were probably in diapers at the same time. It’s unsettling enough to think of your parents having sex, but your grandparents. And your great grandparents. Good God!
You will never know how much I hated that dress. It was tulle, but it was rough and scratchy, and it felt like I was encased in barbed wire. For most of the night I squirmed and twitched like I was possessed. And when we finally got home and my mother got me out of it, my poor little body was covered in red welts. No wonder I was scowling.
The real point of this story isn’t the delicacy of my skin which, you should know, remains delicate to this day. It’s the faint pink smudges. Can you see them?
My mother and I were at home. It must have been a rainy day and we were stuck indoors. I was in the living room. Not sure where in the house my mother was, all I remember is, she wasn’t with me.
Clearly I must have been bored because I’d been rummaging through all the drawers in the credenza, looking for something with which to amuse myself. Lo and behold, I came upon a few photo albums. Perfect.
I flipped through the pages and found this. My mother must have realized it was too quiet — mothers do have great instincts — because she suddenly appeared, just in time to see me, pink pencil in hand, hard at work, colouring in the dress.
“Fransi, what are you doing? Don’t do that,” she exclaimed, yanking the photo out of my hands. Some kids would have started to cry. Not me. “My dress is pink,” I said defiantly.
She did her best to explain why, even though my dress was pink, I could not ruin the photograph. I wasn’t buying her logic. It made no sense to me. If my dress was pink, the photograph had to be pink.
Needless to say, she won the day. The photographs, and the coloured pencils, were given a new home, at the top of a closet way out of my reach. Much as she tried to keep me busy I couldn’t let it go and continued to mutter “my dress is pink” under my breath for the rest of the day.
Here’s the thing, though. If my mother hadn’t taken away my coloured pencils, might I have become the Renoir of my generation? Alas it will remain one of life’s unanswered questions.